Black and White has done very well in his native Canada. Thus far, over 200,000 Canadians have seen the show and it has been highly acclaimed. I am now hoping to bring my show to America and that is why I came to New York, although I have performed in America before. I toured in the south. However, through my performance at the Beacon Theatre, I hoped to open a window here and see how many doors we can open now that we have opened a window. 505
Canadian entertainer, Gregory Charles, was full of vitality and pizzazz as he performed his two act show Black and White on the Beacon Theatre stage before a mixed audience of American and Canadian fans recently.
â€œMy music is different. Therefore, in my show â€œBlack And Whiteâ€? I wanted to weave a story during the first part of the show. I wanted people to know that I was brought up in a great family. My mother is French Canadian and my father is of Trinidadian descent. Both my parents are musically inclined. I spent hours on the piano as a kid learning how to play classical music under the tutelage of my mother, who is herself a talented musician. It paid off because I won a piano competition at age 7 and went on to play Carnegie Hall at age 13 after winning several national competitions. From my father I learned to love jazz and really developed a love of all music,â€? claimed the 36 year old performer.
Gregory Charles puts on a unique show. Comprised of two acts the show is really an autobiography and a showcase for his voluminous repertoire of songs. The first Act of the show is an intimate look into his growing up years, the diversity of his family and what it was like growing up as part of an interracial family in Montreal. It focuses on his love of music, his musical diversity, and highlights his incredible thirst for life and the joy of living. In the second Act, Charles gets the audience involved as he engages them in a family game reminiscent of â€œName That Tune,â€? except in Mr. Charlesâ€™s case its more like â€œSing That Song.â€? The audience is asked to name any song, of any type, and Mr. Charles promises to sing it. And sing them he does. Mr. Charles has an eclectic repertoire of songs. In fact, he is considered to possess the most diverse and capacious collection of songs in his musical cache than any living artist. He sings and plays blues, rock â€˜n roll, Broadway tunes, swing, jazz, classical, country, rap, soul, pop, and gospel moving as smoothly from one to the other with a display of improvisational skills as well as vocal and instrumental dexterity that approaches genius.
Although, Mr. Charles cannot claim to know every song ever written, he can boast that so far he has only missed about 15 songs out of over 800 songs picked.
Many of these songs, Charles learned in childhood. â€œI was a musical child prodigy in Canada but by college age, I decided to become a lawyer. I did that awhile but at the same time went into acting. I got a role in a drama series and from there went on to work in television as a late night talk show host and game show host. I even went to France where I was the first Black to host a French game show. I hosted shows in Latin America and in Asia as well,â€? states the versatile performer.
Gregory also hosts a three hour weekly national radio program for CBC which is still running currently. â€œIn 1998, I went on tour with Celine Dion as part of her show â€œLetâ€™s Talk About Loveâ€? for a year. From there, I spend the next 2 Â½ years touring in a bilingual production entitled: â€œTwo Pianos, Four Hands.â€? It was while performing in this show that I came up with the idea to do my own personal show. I wanted this show to reflect my life and my heritage and the joy I felt in music. I wanted my audience to play a role in it as well, so I decided to introduce the game I used to play with my parents as a child where I would play/sing any tune and in a variety of languages at that. My show, Black and White is the result.â€?
Black and White has done very well in his native Canada. Thus far, over 200,000 Canadians have seen the show and it has been highly acclaimed. â€œI am now hoping to bring my show to America and that is why I came to New York, although I have performed in America before. I toured in the south. However, through my performance at the Beacon Theatre, I hoped to open a window here and see how many doors we can open now that we have opened a window. Itâ€™s a step-by-step process. This show has been wonderful for me. Itâ€™s a blend of languages and colors and I think the 20th century is open to that special blend of identities and colors when expressed both artistically and musically.â€?
Mr. Charlesâ€™ love of gospel prompted him to initiate a multicultural gospel school in Canada. He has formed the New World Choir with music, dance, band and orchestra music as part of the academics. â€œThrough the school I founded, I want to bring along another generation of happy kids who feel the same joy in music as I do,â€? said Charles enthusiastically. In fact, Charles brought his childrenâ€™s choir with him to close out his Beacon Theatre act which resulted in a foot stomping, hand clapping gospel rendition that got the New York audience to their feet shouting Halleluiah!
â€œI am constantly making improvements in the show and my band and I are always learning more songs to add to the repertoire. The show is exhausting, entertaining, dynamic and fun and I hope the American audience will come to love it as much as the Canadian audience has. I definitely look forward to finding out.â€?
Interested parties can find out more about Gregory Charles on his website www.GregoryCharles.com